Scholars Program

The Education Studies Scholars program is a program focused on improving education through research, policy and practice.

Each cohort of 20 Education Studies Scholars includes students from 22 majors around Yale College who are committed to a common vision of education as a means of creating social change.

Education Studies Scholars are some of Yale’s most talented and most racially and socioeconomically diverse students, and the program is highly competitive. In 2016, the program accepted 50% of its applicants. There are three times as many first-generation to college students in the Education Studies program as in Yale college, and more financial aid recipients and public school graduates. These students have experienced the transformative power of education and are committed to impacting their communities.


In Yale Education Studies courses, students learn the historical, political, economic and social contexts of US education, practice a variety of research methods, and are knowledgeable about contemporary policy debates. Each Scholar develops a course plan within the Education Studies curriculum, taking a minimum of five courses in Education Studies including Foundations in Education Studies (EDST 110) in their freshman or sophomore year and ​ culminating in a yearlong senior Capstone project, comprised of a seminar senior fall and an independent research project colloquium course senior spring. No more than two courses may be counted for Education Studies and the students’ major.

Student capstone projects include original quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods research, school or curricular designs, policy proposals and creative projects including novels, photo essays and musicals. Scholars are interested in a wide variety of education topics including teaching, policy, arts education, education technology, education and incarceration, social-emotional learning and bilingual education. Read student-created guides to courses and internships in these streams here.


Education Studies coursework includes discussion and data analysis on current education policies. Recent collaborative course projects include an analysis of leading Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) around the United States.

Summer funding enables Education Studies Scholars to participate in unpaid internships, and scholars complete one or more field experiences to gain experience through a summer or academic-year educational opportunity. Education Studies scholars have interned at the Brookings Institution, Teach for America’s Accelerate Social Impact fellowship, the Campaign for Educational Equity, the New York State Department of Education, Washington DC Public Schools and the West Virginia Department of Education. 


Field experiences in the classroom, as observers and teachers, give students an awareness of the challenging work of teaching or creating educational interventions. Practice field experiences include working as teaching assistants and teachers, curriculum designers, tech workers and more. Students direct the New Haven U.S. Grant summer program, work in school-based legal clinics, in New Haven Public Schools as Dwight Hall Public School Interns, serve as teaching fellows around the country for Breakthrough Collaborative, intern at Khan Academy and write high school Computer Science curricula for Harvard’s free online Introductory Computer Science course. They intern at the Musée de l’Illustration Jeunesse, a museum of children’s book illustration in Moulins, France and develop curriculum at the Hmong Preparatory Charter School in St. Paul, Minnesota and the Yale Prison Education Initiative.

After graduation, one third of Education Studies Scholars become preK-12 teachers in a variety of school settings; they also enter PhD programs or law school, work in think tanks, education or political consulting, educational technology, journalism, non-profits, and government, among other fields.